Shillingford takes five but New Zealand hold on
New Zealanders 149 and 181 for 8 (McCullum 51, Shillingford 5-77) drew with West Indies Board President's XI 326 (Deonarine 106, Chanderpaul 51, Vettori 6-48, Wagner 3-65)
A five-wicket haul from Shane Shillingford caused trouble for the New Zealanders on the last day of their tour match in Antigua, but the visitors managed to cling on for a draw. Brendon McCullum scored 51 and Kruger van Wyk made an important contribution of 38 not out as New Zealand struggled to 181 for 8, after Daniel Vettori and Neil Wagner finished off the WICB President's XI on the final morning.
The President's XI added only 27 to their overnight score for the loss of their last three wickets. Wagner, who is pushing to make his debut when the first Test starts on Wednesday, finished with 3 for 65 after he collected the wicket of Veerasammy Permaul, who fell victim to an outstanding catch from van Wyk.
Vettori grabbed the last two wickets to end up with 6 for 48, but it is not the New Zealand bowling that is their major concern ahead of the first Test. After they were skittled for 149 in the first innings the visitors needed a stronger showing in the second innings to boost their confidence, but the openers Daniel Flynn and Martin Guptill both fell for single-figure scores.
McCullum was more successful and put on 57 with Ross Taylor for the third wicket, but it was the team's only half-century stand of the innings. Taylor (19) and Kane Williamson (25) fell to the spin of Shillingford, as did Dean Brownlie for 5 and Vettori for 2. New Zealand might be pleased Shillingford was not named in West Indies squad for the first Test, but the spin of Sunil Narine will not be any easier to handle.
It was only through van Wyk's fighting innings and some lower-order support from Tarun Nethula and Wagner that New Zealand avoided defeat. Wagner survived for nearly an hour for his 5 not out and combined with his three wickets, his performance has shown the selectors his fighting qualities as they prepare to finalise their side for the first Test.
"We had to fight hard," Wagner said after the match. "Obviously I wanted to show that I'm pretty keen to get a crack at some point on this tour. This was a perfect opportunity to try and fight hard and that's what Test cricket is about."
Vettori said this match provided New Zealand with ideal practice ahead of the Test. "I think we were pretty lucky to play close to the wicket that we are going to play on in the Test match. If we can't learn stuff from this game then we never will.
"I think, while we are disappointed with the position we were in, there's been some really good things [to come out of the tour match], particularly the bowling of Neil Wagner. He brings a lot of energy. He runs in hard all day and wants to compete the whole time, and I think he's a welcome addition to our side."